A Review of the Coastline Coffee Scale – Inexpensive & Capable
Let’s face it; it’s much easier to grab a scoop of coffee beans and add to the grinder than dragging out a scale and weighing the beans.
I won’t lie, when it comes to using the auto-drip, I do use a scoop to measure the coffee.
But using the “scoop method” when brewing a pour-over or even a French Press will lead to inconsistent coffee.
Why Not the “Scoop Method”
In an upcoming post, I will present data showing that using a tablespoon to measure coffee beans could vary the amount of coffee used between 8% and 14% from one time to another.
For example, if you have a 14-ounce coffee cup it will hold just under 400-grams of water. So for a 16:1 water to coffee ratio you’ll need 24.75-grams of coffee. My data shows, you could be under or over estimating each cup by over 2-grams of coffee using a tablespoon.
Your coffee will not taste nearly the same from one cup to the next.
Hence the Scale
For the reason above, I purchased a scale.
But man, there were a lot of choices, and if you read the Amazon reviews each brand had a lot of good reviews but quite a few bad ones as well.
Not having a lot of extra spending money, the top-line models were out. Especially if I could purchase a less inexpensive coffee scale and send it back if it performed poorly. Still, usually, you get what you pay for so I skipped over those costing less than $15 and stuck to the $20 range.
My choice was the Coastline Professional Digital Pocket Kitchen Scale, it looked like it would work well.
Coastline Coffee Scale
Besides the inexpensive price, I choose this coffee scale because the unit is thin and has a large 4 by 4-inch platform that easily holds a coffee cup.
The coffee scale comes with two plastic trays that can be used to keep the platform clean, hold coffee beans or anything else you want to weigh, and those trays also encapsulate the scale protecting it during storage.
Using the tare function is easy, and the button is easy find during coffee brewing. I also liked the backlight display as I often don’t turn on the lights in the morning while I make coffee.
The display shows weights in 0.1-gram increments. You can also change the units from metric to standard if you would rather stick with ounces.
You can also calibrate the unit if you think it’s not weighing correctly.
The coffee scale has a capacity of 3,000-gram with a 0.1-gram accuracy. The accuracy is much better at lower weights, under 500-grams the coffee scale is accuracy to 0.01-grams.
There is an auto-off function that turns off the backlighting after one minute and completely off after three minutes. Don’t worry about it shutting off during use. If you’re adding weight to the platform, the auto-off function is disabled.
The unit comes with the two AAA batteries that power the scale.
Review of the Coastline Coffee Scale
I like the backlighting on the scale and the way the buttons are large and easy to find.
Sorry for the dark image, but I wanted to show the backlighting feature. The button to the left is the on/off button, the next button changes the units of which there are seven. If you hold down the M button, it also manages the calibration mode.
The Tare button is on the far right. Once the container or cup is on the scale press this button and it will tare back to zero. You can tell the tare is on by the word “zero” at the bottom left of the display. The button right of the screen is a quantity counting function. Not sure how we coffee drinkers would use that.
The next series of images is how I use the scale to measure and brew coffee.
I use the plastic tray to protect the scale platform, and a prep bowl to hold the coffee beans as it is easier to pour them into my grinder after weighing. You can see that the measurement unit is in grams (the g just above the .1 on the screen.
I have now used the tare button, and the prep bowl is zeroed out. Notice the “zero” on the bottom left of the display.
It’s now time to add the beans.
The coffee is a random amount I poured into the prep bowl, usually for a cup I weigh out 24.75-grams. I would then grind the coffee, pre-heat the coffee cup and rinse the paper filter and place the cup, filter holder, filter with coffee on the scale and hit the tare button again. The set-up looks like this minus the filter and ground coffee.
I would zero out the weight again after adding the filter and coffee, then add water into the filter until I have added around 410-grams. All I need is 396 grams, but the coffee grounds and filter retains some of the water so I add extra.
- Easy to store
- Backlight display
- Full capacity tare
- Scale sits low and looks good
- Large platform
- Easy to use
- No searching for functions
- The tare slips a little a heavier weights (see below)
- No timer
One small problem I have with the Coastline coffee scale is that the tare function slips back a tenth of a gram at times. I’ve only noticed this when you stop adding weight to the scale for a few moments.
Other Amazon reviewers have also mentioned this, and in my opinion, have made a bigger deal out of it than what it is.
Let me put this into perspective.
At higher weights, 200-grams or above you stop pouring water into the coffee filter to allow the water level to drop a bit, or even allow the coffee to bloom. The scale slips back 0.1-grams before you pour in more water.
That is 0.05% by weight.
Not a deal breaker for $20.
At lower weights, less that 50- or 100-grams, I haven’t seen the scale change. It isn’t a big deal for brewing home coffee.
After using this scale for several months, I totally recommend that you purchase the Coastline Professional Digital Pocket Kitchen Scale to use for home coffee brewing!
Using the scale to measure out your coffee beans and the amount of water in pour-overs will give you more consistently tasting coffee and allow you to make better-educated guesses on the amount of coffee you should use for each brewing method.
Upping Your Coffee Game
If I could add one thing to the Coastline coffee scale, it would be a timer that shows on the screen together with the weight.
This would save me from using my phone or a separate stopwatch when brewing coffee.
The timer would be perfect for a couple of reasons. First, it would be nice to add some water to the filter and wait 30-seconds for the coffee to bloom before adding more water. Second, having the timer would allow me to adjust the rate at which I’m adding water to the coffee grounds.
But you need to be careful with scale features.
There are a couple of models that say they include a timer, such as the Nourish Kitchen Scale but you can’t have the weight and the time showing on the screen together. The last thing I want to do is shuffle between screen modes while pouring near boiling water.
My next coffee scale purchase will be a Hario Coffee Drip Scale/Timer. Reading through the reviews people are surprised that the scale isn’t built better for the money, but many of those customers have upgraded their reviews after using it for a while.
Adding a larger display for weight and timer showing at the same time makes this coffee scale more expensive, but it also eliminates one more item in the kitchen (phone stopwatch) when I’m brewing coffee.
Check it out below.
As a Pragmatist
I like to take a practical approach to ever thing. If I thought that using a scale had no benefit I wouldn’t recommend using one. I hate unitaskers, and a coffee scale is just that to me.
However, as a pragmatist, I’m also committed to the success of the process. Using a scale without a doubt improves the coffee brewing process, and that is why I use one.
What is your opinion about using a scale to measure coffee? Leave me a comment below.
The Coffee Pragmatist
No-nonsense advice on artisan and speciality coffee. From bean to cup, though I prefer mugs. Get how-to advice, reviews, recommendations, interviews and discounts on coffee beans from roasters around the country.
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